Yesterday, I attended a free seminar hosted by our county extension office, the title being “Growing Your own Groceries”. We had a good time talking with various people, discussing chickens, goats, goat cheese, gardening, and the like. Our own chicken tractor was on display for all to see! It was fun. I am going to go ahead and add in here; if you have never tasted goat cheese, it is DEE-LI-CIOUS! I know that everybody has this negative image of a dirty ol’, smelly goat with smelly milk or something, but let me say this…have you ever driven by a dairy cow pasture in high summer? That smell is enough to make you gag, but we drink that stuff like there’s no tomorrow. Anyway, they had some of the goats there and I swear, they’re about the cutest animals you’ll ever see.
Oh, but the cheese! It was made that morning and it was a soft, crumbly texture. It is called Queso Blanco, which of course, means white cheese. It is very, very creamy and doesn’t really have much of a flavor, but is quite similar to cottage cheese/cream cheese mix. MMMmmmmm. Yes, one day, I will have some dairy goats! And when I do, I am going to make my best friend, JJ, taste some of the cheese without telling him beforehand what it is, because I know that he is ready to vomit after reading this, lol. This is the same person who can’t eat anything but white boneless chicken because seeing the bones makes him nauseated! haha. I can’t wait (evil grin). Also, they were selling goat’s milk soap and let me be the first to tell you it is AWESOME!!! I used it last night and this morning, and it is very, very mild and lathers better than any soap you’ve ever tried, I guarantee you that. They make a lot of different fragranced and also non-fragranced soaps. We got the Coco Bolo (to die for), Tuscan Garden (also to die for, just a touch more masculine than Coco Bolo), Lavendar, Tea Tree, and Gardener’s hand Soap, which has Starbucks coffee grounds in it! It makes for a good exfoliant/cleanser. Please do yourself a favor and buy some soap from these guys:
Check out the goat’s names while you’re there; it’s hilarious. Also, they go to events like Tomato Fest, just check the website. Oh and lastly you can cut the bars in half…they are quite large bars, and cutting it in half makes a ‘normal’ sized bar. In quarters, it would be a good size for your kitchen sink soap dish. Anyway…moving on..
So, anyway, one of the Extension agents, Renee was telling someone how the people who lived through the Great Depression had it all right, and we ignored them, but now it’s all coming back around. They were right, we are wrong, and we’re going to have to go back to the way that things used to be. I couldn’t agree more. I was a child of the 80s…we were so spoiled compared to past generations! Remember the song, “Material Girl’, by Madonna? Didn’t that say it all about the 80s? I think we were all raised to be materialistic, if not by our parents, then by all the commercials and crap that the media shoved down our throats. It’s just as bad or worse today! I HATE watching some of the kid’s channels because every 5 seconds they are trying to push some crappy Chinese made toy on our kids. My 3 year old can sing the jingle to Peek-a-Boo Barbie, for crying out loud!
Anyway, back to my point: it is time to simplify our lives. It is time to learn that we don’t have to run out and buy everything new. My new favorite phrase is the oldie but goodie, “Use it up, wear it out. Make do, or do without.” I’m not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you that I don’t ever go buy crap I don’t need. I know that I shouldn’t, but old habits die hard. But, what I have been trying to do it use what I have, and if I don’t have it, get it secondhand. My SIL just gave us a couch and a kitchen table for no cost! They may need a little work, but they didn’t cost us a dime. I have even considered stopping and picking up furniture on the side of the road that people toss out. Don’t think this Junkyard Gypsy won’t either! I have dug things out of dumpsters; I have stopped and asked people for furniture that they have sitting by their trash can. I have scoured alleys and taken various things that people have thrown out. And I’m not ashamed to admit it! I don’t know why we have this stigma about using other people’s ‘trash’. You would be amazed at the things people toss out, I assure you! But let me get back to the Depression folks…
When I bought my Mamaw’s house in 2004, we had to do a through cleaning of all the cabinets. At the time, I laughed my way through the 9,000 butter and cottage cheese containers, 4,000+ yards of fabric, 500 rolls of old wrapping paper, years of rubber bands scavenged from newspapers, and saved bits of tin foil. I shook my head in amazement at the 25 bottles of dishwashing soap, 50-odd still-packaged dishtowels, and bottles upon bottles of various cleaners. Then, it was funny to me. Now, it’s not so funny…it was just plain damn smart! At that time, I thought, good Lord, Mamaw should have joined “Butter Tub Savers Anonymous”. Now, who could it be, that has about 60 plastic bottles and milk jugs saved out in her shop? And who is it who stocks up on dish soap, toothbrushes, shampoo, and toothpaste when it is next to nothing/free at CVS??? If I hadn’t had my head up my rear at the time, I would have been saving things all along. Because, after all, who knows when you’ll need some of those things that we are all so used to tossing in the trash? I use coffee cans for feed scoops, and cut off milk jugs for mini-greenhouses and to protect my plants from frost, and old half and half containers to start my plants in. I don’t have to buy a Jiffy greenhouse kit, or pots, or feed scoops. I hope that all of you will walk away from this and really, really think to yourselves about re-using what you already have, and stocking up on things when they are little to nothing at the store. Times are getting lean, and we all need to take away some notes from our grandparents! And for crying out loud, we don’t have to try and ‘keep up with the Joneses’!